auDA, the organisation which governs Australia’s domain space, has announced that second level .au domain names (such as <example.au>) will be available towards the end of 2019.
These second level names are a new addition for those operating in the .au domain space. They join third level domain names like <.com.au>, <.net.au> and <.org.au> as available .au domain registrations.
When implemented, existing registrants of third level .au licenses will be able to apply for priority status to register the matching second level domain. This means that someone who owns <example.com.au> will be able to apply for priority registration of <example.au>.
auDA has decided to make these second level domain names available after almost four years of consideration. The announcement comes after the auDA board approved the implementation policy which governs the new domain names.
Among other things, the implementation policy provides a framework for who is eligible for priority registration when there are multiple owners of an identical domain name with a different TLD. For example, if <example.com.au> and <example.net.au> are owned by different people, the auDA implementation policy provides an avenue for determining who gets priority registration over the new <example.au> domain.
The new second level domain names which are not obtained through priority registration will be available for purchase on a first come, first served basis when the general registration period opens in Q4 2019.
auDA has conducted extensive research into the feasibility and popularity of these new domain names. Their research suggests that two thirds of people would be likely to utilise a second level .au domain name when setting up a new website, and almost nine out of ten people support the introduction of second level registration.